Moment 6: A Blessing Amidst Adversity
While I now feel, or rather know, that writing is supposed to be a part of my life, this was not always the case. Like many artists, I left my craft for many years. Just as I had to be prodded to go to the temple for the first time, at a certain point I realized that I had to bring writing back into my life.
The more I think about my past the more I realize that Heavenly Father has always stood by me. He has watched over me, protected me, and guided me to where I needed to be. I went through the temple for myself in November of 2007, and over the next few years my family was bombarded with so much illness and adversity that I know Heavenly Father was strengthening me for the future when He prompted me to go to the temple. Often, it has felt as if the time I spend in the temple and at church is the only thing keeping me sane and helping me to endure.
So much happened and so quickly over the next few years that I couldn’t keep track of it all. I won’t even try to list everything because I know I will forget something. The huge blessing in the midst so much illness and loss, was my beautiful niece Shelby.
In 2009, my sister made several visits to California because of all of the various health concerns happening in our family. On one of those trips my grandmother, who is especially observant, told my mother that she suspected Stephanie was pregnant. Nothing further was said until shortly before Thanksgiving, when she made the announcement that she was pregnant.
The joy that we all felt on this occasion, and on Shelby’s arrival in June of 2010, was magnificent. My father was actually in the hospital briefly just before Shelby was born, but his recovery seemed much quicker on that occasion than it was for his previous stays. I know that Shelby’s arrival was the cause. That little girl was a needed life-raft to us and our extended family.
Less than six months after her birth, my uncle Geno lost his battle with leukemia and returned home to Heavenly Father. Four months later, after weeks in the hospital, my grandfather followed him. When Stephanie and Heath arrived for the funerals our precious Shelby was passed around to all, a necessary reminder of new life and, for me, a reminder of the sacredness of each life and the love of my Heavenly Father who had brought her to us just when we needed her most.
Children, especially Shelby, help me to remember what is really important in life. It is not about riches or power, or even popularity. Life is about coming together as a family and progressing toward the ultimate goal of returning to live in our Heavenly Father’s presence. Every time I see my niece, or talk to her over the phone I can’t help smiling. She gives me hope for the future and joy in the moment.
After years in the classroom, I only came back to writing after the death of my uncle. In October of that year, he slipped painfully away in the arms of his sons. And the Fingerson family received another early morning phone call. All though we had hoped to have my grandfather for more than the next four months, his health was such that we did not expect to have him for many more holidays after that.
The loss of these two wonderful men, and the concerns I have to this day about my own father’s health, made me realize that my time on this earth, my mortal life, would be short. I had been secretly telling myself for years that one day I would start writing, one day I would take the time to develop the talent I loved and had always longed to share. But it wasn’t until my uncle Geno died, and I was holding my beautiful niece Shelby in my arms, that I felt brave enough to step toward the next significant moment in my life: the decision to go back to school and to take classes to become a writer. In January of 2011, shortly before my grandfather passed away, I enrolled at the University of California, Riverside Extension Center in the first creative writing class I had taken in almost a decade. By the end of that calendar year, I was applying for the MFA at CSUSB.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of "One Writer's Legacy."